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Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis: CFP Board's Public Policy Kickstarter — The 2016 IA 25

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The CFP Board of Standards didn’t really have a public policy agenda until Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis came on board in July 2008, a few months after CFP Board moved its headquarters to Washington.

Since then, Mohrman-Gillis has lobbied lawmakers and regulators to ensure that the CFP Board — as well as the Financial Planning Coalition — now has a legitimate seat at the public policy table.

“One of my original goals [was] to enhance the [CFP Board’s] relationship with regulators, executives and policymakers, and building coalitions to achieve our policy objectives,” she said.

She was instrumental in building the Coalition — which includes CFP Board, the FPA and NAPFA — to push a three-pronged policy agenda: fiduciary accountability, regulation of financial planners and increased oversight of advisors.

The CFP Board — and Coalition’s — “principal policy” has been “fiduciary accountability, regulation of financial planners and increasing oversight of investment advisors. Those have been the core policy objectives that we have identified, and our goal has always been to increase policy outcomes that benefit the public.”

To that end, Mohrman-Gillis has been a regular fixture on Capitol Hill, testifying in support of DOL’s fiduciary rule. While she applauds the final rule, the fight on the Hill and in the courts to compromise it isn’t over. “There’s certainly the possibility and probability Congressional Review Act legislation will be introduced, and that the rule will be appealed in the court of appeals.”

“I believe that DOL did an excellent job in balancing the core principals of a strong fiduciary standard while making important changes to address practical concerns to make the [final] rule more operational,” she said. “I applaud DOL for the careful, lengthy process they went through” in redrafting the final rule, and “I think that positions this rule to move forward and allow companies to focus on implementation as opposed to opposition.”

With her public policy success behind her, Mohrman-Gillis now moves onto heading CFP Board’s new Center for Financial Planning to build a more diverse planning workforce.

She was named in January as executive director of the recently formed CFP Board Center for Financial Planning, but she’ll continue in her current post as CFP Board’s managing director for public policy and communications, which she has held since July 2008, until a successor is named.

One of the “real challenges” that the Center will tackle is “attracting younger people into the profession,” she said. Mohrman-Gillis has also played a key role in spearheading the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN).

The Center will also have an Academic Home initiative, which will include creating an academic journal for financial planning, conducting an academic colloquium, and building the body of knowledge for the financial planning profession.

— See the full 2016 IA 25 in the May issue of Investment Advisor, and find ongoing coverage of the honorees, including extended profiles, all month on the IA 25 homepage.